The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will stage a protest outside the BJP headquarters here on Sunday against the demolition of Guru Ravidas Temple at Tughlaqabad in South Delhi by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
The AAP leaders told reporters on Saturday that there was “massive resentment” among a large section of the people against the demolition of this temple. The party’s Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes wing will hold a demonstration outside the BJP headquarters as the DDA is controlled by the BJP-led central government.
Addressing a press conference at the party’s head office, Delhi social welfare minister and AAP legislator from Seemapuri, Rajendra Pal Gautam said that the AAP leadership had demanded through a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 August that the temple should be reconstructed at the place where it existed but there was no response from the central government.
“This reflected the ruling BJP’s vitiated mindset,” Gautam alleged.
He said the historic temple was demolished on 10 August but it could be saved if the central government wanted to do so. He claimed that this had led to protest demonstrations not only in India but also in the UK, Canada, the US and elsewhere as “around 40 crore people in different parts of the world were religiously attached to Guru Ravidas”.
Gautam alleged that Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri knew about it as the DDA comes under his ministry, but he kept mum.
The AAP leader claimed that this temple complex was not affecting the green belt as it existed by a roadside. He demanded that this issue be settled before it could lead to a major movement in the country.
The AAP’s SC/ST wing chief Kuldip Kumar, who was also present at the press conference, alleged, “Atrocities against the Dalits have increased since the BJP came to power at the Centre. The demolition of Guru Ravidas Temple appeared to be part of a plan to erase the history associated with the Dalits.”
He said what happened at Tughlaqabad had hurt the sentiments of a large section of the population. The AAP SC/ST wing will organise a gherao of the BJP headquarters on Sunday after taking out a march to press the demand for the restoration of the temple building where it earlier existed, he added.